Tip #1 – Organize, Prioritize, and Consolidate your gift purchases
There is nothing more stressful than waiting until the last minute to do your Christmas shopping… the things you want are already sold out or are no longer available in the size or color you need. You do find it, but it’s on backorder, or the shipping will take 7-10 days and you need it NOW! Sound familiar? This is the sound of disorganization.
To paraphrase Dave Ramsey, one of my financial gurus, “Christmas isn’t an emergency – we know every year that it shows up on December 25th!” So plan accordingly! I start and organize my lists in early November, and start looking and comparing prices before Black Friday. I know what I want to give each person, how much I can afford (yes, a Christmas budget is important for less stress in January!) and where the best price is. On Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday I make my purchases and have plenty of time for them to be delivered if purchased online, and sent out in time for Christmas.
[QUICK TIP] Want less stress at the Post Office? Use their self-service kiosk after hours (I go at 9:00pm) to buy stamps and send packages without the long lines or added stress of impatient people behind you.
Have your list ready to go? Prioritize your purchases and shipping. Start wrapping and packaging up your items that need to go overseas, including Christmas cards, and out of town. There is a cut off date that the postal service and other major carriers will no longer guarantee Christmas arrival. Want to see stress? Show up at UPS the day after that cut off day – it’s not pretty. Once your out of town packages are sent, then start wrapping and organizing your gifts for the locals and your family.
And does everyone need a different gift? Well… no. It’s okay to consolidate your shopping trips and lists. Choose a few nice things for friends and family, and buy several of each to give as gifts. Several bottles of a great red wine. A few similar toys to give to different charities. A series of gift cards for the same restaurant you love (sometimes they have deals, too!). The Season is about giving, not about what you get or how much you spend. It’s about being thoughtful and showing your appreciation for those who are important in your life.
Not sure what to get someone? Consumables are always a good way to go – no one really needs “stuff”. Sending some steaks from a major online retailer or gifting a restaurant gift card are great purchases that are enjoyed and appreciated, but don’t take up space . 🙂